Messages posted to thread:

Alex16-Jul-02 07:20 PM EST 3a   
Ed16-Jul-02 08:05 PM EST 5b   
Susan17-Jul-02 09:07 AM EST 6a   
30-Jul-02 04:39 PM EST   
alnoro01-Aug-02 10:13 PM EST 8   

Subject: Under a Blue Spruce??
From: Alex
Zone: 3a
Date: 16-Jul-02 07:20 PM EST

Hi, the problems are...needles, sticky sap on dogs paws, roots, no plants (yet!). I would welcome any suggestions on landscaping under a 40 year old blue spruce while addressing the aforemention issues. Many thanks.

Subject: RE: Under a Blue Spruce??
From: Ed
Zone: 5b
Date: 16-Jul-02 08:05 PM EST

Alex, Normally a blue spruce would have side branches at ground level with no space beneath to plant anything. More info might be helpful.

Subject: RE: Under a Blue Spruce??
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 17-Jul-02 09:07 AM EST

Until this spring I also struggled with planting under a 40+ year old spruce. (I initially thought it was a blue spruce but later identified it as a white spruce...) The very bottom branches had been removed so there was room to plant under it, although the branches still swept down to about 3 feet from the ground. The soil was heavy, packed clay to boot... I had some success with things like Beacon Silver Laminium, Christmas Fern (I don't think that'd be hardy for you...) and a couple of artemisias on the sunnier side. It was an ugly tree though and it was sitting (and hogging all the space..) in the middle of one of the few sunny places on our property. So, this spring, we had it taken down! Now I have a thriving, large sunny perennial bed with a backdrop of flowering small trees and shrubs. While it is a tough decision to remove a mature tree, I much prefer its absence to its presence! I have lots of other mature trees, both evergreen and deciduous, so the local wildlife hasn't lost much habitat and have actually gained as some of the trees and shrubs I've planted provide berries for the birds. So, my advice would be to give gardening under it a shot but seriously think about whether the 40 year old landscape plan is still the best one for your current garden....

Subject: RE: Under a Blue Spruce??
Date: 30-Jul-02 04:39 PM EST

The tv show, "Bugs and Blooms" delt with this problem today. Solution was: bark mulch over the spruce needles, washed river rocks for interest, and containers filled with interesting plants. The outer edges of the tree was planted with silver foliage plants which I can not remember presently.

Subject: RE: Under a Blue Spruce??
From: alnoro (
Zone: 8
Date: 01-Aug-02 10:13 PM EST

I have 2 large BLUE spruce and 3 large dogs. I don't clean up the needles and find they make a great mulch and absorb the sap because the shade is fairly dense and the spruce are in a back corner of my garden I cut it up to branches about 6' off the ground. the branches still bow so it's not as sparse as it sounds. I have a few containers under the spruce and I have included a bird bath and a garden bench which fits great and always gives me a shady spot to peruse the garden from. Being in zone 8 may be a lot different than your zone 3 but I find Dusty Miller, Hostas and yellow loosestrife grow really well there with no care. Hope you have some good ideas from these threads.

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